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Biden’s False Claims About Religious Liberty

- October 12, 2012

THE CLAIM: Biden Claimed That ObamaCare Would Not Require Religious Groups Or Institutions To Finance Contraceptives. BIDEN: "With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear: No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise - including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy, any hospital - none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact." (Vice President Joe Biden, Vice Presidential Debate, Danville, KY, 10/11/12)

THE FACTS: "Biden Went A Bit Far Saying It Is A Fact That They Will Not Pay For Contraceptives." "But there are still unsettled issues in this matter, so Biden went a bit far saying it is a fact that they will not pay for contraceptives." (Josh Hicks, "Fact Check: Biden Goes A Bit Far On Birth Control," The Washington Post , 10/11/12)

  • The Obama Administration Has Yet To Come Up With An Accommodation For Religious Groups So That They Will Not Pay For Contraceptive Coverage. Some church organizations still object to the mandate despite the exemption for religion-affiliated groups, arguing that they could end up paying for birth control indirectly if the mandate causes their health insurance costs to rise. Furthermore, the Obama administration said in March that it will come up with an accommodation for religiously affiliated employers that self-insure, but it has not yet decided how to handle that seven months later." (Josh Hicks, "Fact Check: Biden Goes A Bit Far On Birth Control," The Washington Post , 10/11/12)

Obama's Backtrack On The Mandate Was An Absurd Plan Which Will Result In Higher Health Care Premiums

The Wall Street Journal : Obama's Backtrack Is Absurd In Which "A Political Mandate Will Be Compounded By An Uneconomic One." "Here's a conundrum: The White House wants to impose its birth-control ideology on all Americans, including those for whom sponsoring or subsidizing such services violates their moral conscience. The White House also wants to avoid a political backlash from this blow to religious freedom. These goals are irreconcilable. So you almost have to admire the absurdity of the new plan President Obama floated yesterday: The government will now write a rule that says the best things in life are 'free,' including contraception. Thus a political mandate will be compounded by an uneconomic one-in other words, behold the soul of ObamaCare." (Editorial, "Immaculate Conception: An 'Accommodation' That Makes The Birth-Control Mandate Worse," The Wall Street Journal, 2/13/12)

  • The Wall Street Journal : Costs Associated With The Contraception Mandate Will Bring On Higher Health Care Premiums. "Insurance companies won't be making donations. Drug makers will still charge for the pill. Doctors will still bill for reproductive treatment. The reality, as with all mandated benefits, is that these costs will be borne eventually via higher premiums. The balloon may be squeezed differently over time, and insurers may amortize the cost differently over time, but eventually prices will find an equilibrium. Notre Dame will still pay for birth control, even if it is nominally carried by a third-party corporation." (Editorial, "Immaculate Conception: An 'Accommodation' That Makes The Birth-Control Mandate Worse," The Wall Street Journal, 2/13/12)

The Catholic Bishops And Catholic Health Association Oppose The Backtrack Because It Still Disregards Religious Liberty

U.S. Conference Of Catholic Bishops: Rule Still Mandates Contraception Coverage Nationwide. "First, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the administration's plan still includes a 'nationwide mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception, including some abortifacients.'" (Jennifer Haberkorn, "Bishops: Contraception Deal 'Unacceptable,'" Politico, 2/11/12)

  • Obama's Plan Doesn't Go Far Enough In Exempting Religious Employers. "And while Obama's new plan allows religious-affiliated employers to refrain from paying for contraceptive coverage - insurers would be obligated to provide the coverage for free - the bishops said the change doesn't go far enough." (Jennifer Haberkorn, "Bishops: Contraception Deal 'Unacceptable,'" Politico, 2/11/12)
  • Religious Employers Are Not Exempted From The Mandate. "'It would still mandate that all insurers must include coverage for the objectionable services in all the policies they would write,' the bishops said. 'At this point, it would appear that self-insuring religious employers, and religious insurance companies, are not exempt from this mandate.'" (Jennifer Haberkorn, "Bishops: Contraception Deal 'Unacceptable,'" Politico, 2/11/12)

The Catholic Health Association Said That Obama's Contraception Rule Does Not Address Its "Religious Liberty Concerns." "The White House has lost perhaps its most prominent Catholic ally in its controversial effort to expand contraception coverage, with the huge Catholic Health Association saying Friday that the mandate for most religious employers to offer coverage would not 'adequately meet the religious liberty concerns.' The change of position at the association, the country's largest group of nonprofit health-care providers, comes as polls show President Obama and Mitt Romney tied among registered Catholic voters. For the past four of five presidential races, the candidate who won Catholics won the presidency." (Michelle Boorstein, "Catholic Group Says Obama's Contraception Effort Falls Short," The Washington Post , 6/18/12)

  • In The Letter Addressed To Health And Human Services, The Catholic Health Association's Asked The Administration To Reconsider The Rule To "Broaden The Exemption For Religious Groups That Say Facilitating The Use Of Contraception In Any Way Goes Against Their Beliefs." "In a five-page letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, leaders of the association said the group supports Obama's overall health-care overhaul but thinks he should broaden the exemption for religious groups that say facilitating the use of contraception in any way goes against their beliefs." (Michelle Boorstein, "Catholic Group Says Obama's Contraception Effort Falls Short," The Washington Post , 6/18/12)

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